A few of my favorite things: Stevens Happy Accidents.
Hello everyone, I’m Steven from the blog Stevens Happy Accidents (and etsy shop), and I’m so happy to be visiting decor8 whilst Holly is moving, as part of her guest series “a few of my favorite things”. I live in a tiny rented house just outside London, I’m close enough to use and abuse everything the big city has to offer, but far enough away to feel like I’m in the countryside. I live here with one husband, one unloving cat, an overly needy dog, and two greedy fish. And here are a few of my favorite things.
(home..) This is the place where I sit and smile, with colour and texture all around me. It’s from here where I visit every corner of the world and make my heart go boom boom boom, by seeing whats new on my favorite blogs and places I have to click into every day, be it an amazing new wallpaper or the latest celebrity scandal. It’s from here where I pull up a tiny table and get out my sewing machine to create whatever happy accidents happen that day, it’s from here I laugh out loud at the silly dancing my David does, it’s here where most nights we eat dinner and watch Dynasty (I love Jeff Colby) and it’s here where I could and would, given half a chance stay and smile forever.
(vintage pinball..) This corner of my home is where I proudly hang a vintage wooden tabletop game that I rescued from the evil clutches of someone at a car boot sale here in London, and to think I almost walked away from it, because it’s now one of my favorite things. It’s a fair point to say that one persons trash is another persons treasure, and I love that forever now it will be part of my life, it might hang on many different wall’s and be positioned alongside many different things, but it will be seen and loved, never discarded and sold.
(bedroom..) This is my side of the bedroom, the side where i dream a happy adventure, where I bury my head under my brightly coloured pillows and hide, where my dog whines at 3 in the morning to be let out. It’s where I refresh and start every day new, it’s where I talk too much, and apparently snore too loudly, it’s where I look up and plot my world travels. It’s where I sleep with my feet out..and never under the duvet. It’s my bed, and I love it, and you can’t have it. :)
(hi..) This is without doubt, the greatest thing i have ever rescued from a car boot sale, and one of the best things in my home. Please imagine the scene, early morning, coffee in hand, and I suddenly sprint across the field at the sight of these big chunky letters just sitting under a table, I’m screaming on the inside “oh my god oh my god“…… I ask how much for them, expecting to be told a stupid amount, and the man says “£10 mate”, “yes please” I scream back at him. Sprint off again to get some money from David, and finally walk away, now out of breath with my best ever find. One day I will attach it to a wall and fit lights on the inside.. but for now, I love my Hi.
(bathroom) My bathroom was already painted these colours when we moved in, and the landlady refuses to let us paint over them, but I have come to like it. Whoever knew aqua blue and lavender would work well together? But mixed in with my own little additions its a room I do love. It is big, it floods with light, and its got in it one of the greatest inventions ever…the bath, where like the pig I am, I wallow, and soak away any cares I might have had. Where I read the trashiest of books, and make the best magazines all soggy and wet. The getting clean part is just an added bonus of this room, my aqua blue and lavender bathroom.
(inspiration) I remember many years ago, on a school trip to the Louvre in Paris, I got told off by a security guard for trying to reach over and touch a painting, I just wanted to feel the texture, feel what the artist felt, and its this tactile nature I have that inspires me to this day. I have come to realise that fabric is my material of choice, I like many different crafts, but give me some fabric and a sewing machine and ill make you something unique. I don’t plan my work too much, and call most things I make a happy accident.. and I’m usually happy with my accidents, be it a pillow, a bag or a plush toy and if it sells in my shop its just a bonus, never the aim.
(advice) I used to live with my grandmother, and she would always tell me off for cooking too fast, being impatient, heating things too quickly, and would always say “never let baked beans boil” and I always remember this advice.. and it reflects onto my life daily… because instead of thinking things through, I usually just dive in and try, instead of making plans and following them through, I quickly rush at the last minute, missing a few things on the list along the way. And I suppose it’s because I always want my “beans cooked” quickly, when maybe I should just let them simmer.
(images: stevens happy accidents)
We were in France earlier today, would you like to come along with me a bit north up to England now? I received the sweetest email from Tracey Leigh, an interior designer who works out of her home office in England and who also authors a blog called Homeleigh Vintage. I love when readers reach out to me and send in submissions, especially of their beautiful homes and portfolios — it’s always exciting and I love posting such inspirational homes. Tracey would like to share her quaint English home with all of us today, it’s so very country and charming… and I couldn’t refuse! Tracey’s home reminds me of something I’d see in Ideal Home magazine or the UK version of Country Living.
If you live near Tracey you can ask her for help decorating, she is a practicing Interior Designer who would love to help you create the perfect home!
(images: tracey leigh design)
I have such a lovely French space to share with you today, it’s a 2 bedroom home belonging to a talented blogger and crafting goddess who lives near Paris that I found on Flickr. These lovely images belong to one of my contacts, Shannon Dreval aka Petite Details, and I asked her if I could share some of her nooks with you today. This charming space, filled with gorgeous vintage finds, belongs to Shannon (who is American), her French husband and 3-year-old son. They have such a cozy space — it feels like there is so much love and many fine memories being built in this space which attracted me to it in the first place.
Shannon told me about some of her inspirations, “Vintage objects of all kinds inspire me, especially those that show signs of use or age, including old textiles, dishes, kitchen utensils, and sewing notions. Magazines, books, and blogs are also sources of unending inspiration.” She also admits that making a house feel like a home is easy — just surround yourself with loved ones, objects that you love and, “the smell of delicious home cooking wafting from room to room.” Doesn’t that paint such a delicious mental image? :) I hope she’s serving fresh baked chocolate croissants.
Her many lovely things are sourced at flea markets, thrift shops, antiques stores, and garage sales. When I asked Shannon if she had a favorite room in her home she replied, “Oh yes… my favorite room is the kitchen. I’m not a very good cook (fortunately my husband likes to cook) and it’s a really small space, but it’s filled with some favorite vintage objects collected over the years. I find them nice to look at, they stir up good memories, and they’re practical, too.”
My final question for Shannon when we chatted through email was this… What do you like to do at home? I always love to ask this question because I find that everyone has little things they cherish that is unique to them and their family. “I love to spend time with my husband and son, sew with vintage and contemporary fabrics, figure out ways to restore and reuse vintage things, and I enjoy reading books that allow me to travel the world without ever leaving home,” she said. I love her answer. To travel the world without leaving home… that’s a very nice thought don’t you think?
(images: shannon/petits details)
Let’s play pretend for a moment, shall we? We’re in Paris strolling around and run into graphic designer and stylist Fifi Mandirac who so nicely invites us back to her home and studio. Her world is so colorful we can’t help but linger… in fact, we find it hard to say goodbye. Must be her joie de vivre. One cup of tea turns into another… Her home is filled with nooks of artfully arranged things – things we know that if owned by us they’d most likely not be in such fine arrangement. Fifi has that magic touch, unique and quirky, honest and joyful. Look around and see for yourself…
But before we go any further I have a question — I’d love to learn about YOUR first impressions — when you think of the overall French design aesthetic, what do you imagine? Do you see this? Or something else?
I see lush, smoky interiors with rich colors like plum and red, lots of texture (especially velvet for some reason), and very ornate decadent things from drapes to wallpaper and furniture. On the flipside, I imagine country French design too. Bright sunshine and lavender fields. Lace on windows. Toile, yellow, red, blue, soft ocean tones and rustic. I also imagine some French design to be a bit quirky and graphic and I guess that’s where artists like Fifi fall in to place for me. I think of tastemakers like Nathalie Lete and Ateliers LZC in this mix. And of course children’s characters like Barbarpapa come to mind too.
This, of course, is based on living outside of France my entire life — unless you’ve really lived somewhere I think your impressions of an area may be partially influenced by outside factors and not based solely on personal experience within that culture. So again I ask… when you imagine France and modern day French design, what do you see?
After you’ve thought about that for a moment, maybe you can share those thoughts here with me. There is no right or wrong answer. Now back to the charming Fifi Mandaric who lives in Saint Denis (northern suburb of Paris about 6 miles from city center). As a side point: all of these photos are from her former apartment in Paris and her current one in Saint Denis. While visiting with Fifi let us ask her a few questions, because we can’t possibly visit someone else’s home without inquiring as to their tastes and inspirations.
What inspires your decor? “I gather a lot of vintage stuff, it can either be family heritage or flea market finds. I particularly like vintage toys using them in my decor like I would do with sculptures. To add a more modern feeling I also have major design pieces from Knoll or Eames. Actually, everything inspires me ! I use things I like without thinking if it works together or not, and most of the time it works.”
What do you love about being born and raised in France? “Tough question… I would say the rich artistic background. Very young my parents took me to museums and I have great memories discovering Paris with my grandmother. Is it because of my family or because I am French ? I don’t know but this is how I was raised.“
What are you most proud of about your life and why? “I am proud because I always knew what I wanted to do and I managed to do it even if it was not that obvious… I also feel lucky because I manage to keep the balance between my family life and my work. Having different spaces (a big studio in the back of the garden) for both makes that possible.”
Do you ever feel stuck in a creative rut and if so, how do you get out of it? “When I feel a creative rut is falling upon me, I quickly quit my studio work for a walk in Paris. Or if it’s a moody rainy day, then I make myself a steaming cup of tea, and I read design and decor blogs… But every now and then, I can feel tired and this is when I need to travel. My trips to India and Mexico for example were very inspiring. When I travel like that I always take an empty suitcase with me (which makes my husband crazy!), so that I can bring back plenty of new stuff that will end in my home decor and will inspire me all year long.”
What are your favorite colors and why? “I need colors like I need a beam of sunlight. I love pure colors like grassy green, sunshiny blue, warm yellow, bright pink… And I also love red! Recently I painted a wall in my garden with red, and it makes a real statement. Actually, I love all colors! It is more a thing about assortment. I don’t feel comfortable with “half tones”, those you can’t tell if it’s gray or green for example. I don’t mean I don’t like it, but I don’t know how to use them.”
What are some things in your home that you cherish? “I love the dressing table that my grandmother gave me when I was a child, the old 50’s refrigerator that was in my grand parents house for years, I saved it from trash and I use it now as a cupboard. And I also like my dining table which was in my other grand parent’s house. It’s a Danish table from the 60’s with a nice design and it’s great to have many friends for dinner. I bought Eames chairs to go with it and I just love it! What I cherish the most is objects which have great design and memories at the same time. I never keep an object I dislike even if it is useful. For example, I put my washing-up liquid in a nice bottle so that it looks nice. I know I am a little bit obsessive.”
Pretend it’s Saturday, you have some extra money in your pocket, no work to do, the sun is shining and a friend asks you to spend the day together. What will you do? “If the sun is shining, I don’t need anything else to have a great day ! But I will have breakfast in the garden and spend some lazy time with my husband and my daughter. Later we will work on the wood house we are currently building for her, unless some friends will come by to have a drink under the shade. At the end of the afternoon I will put on a dress and a fancy pair of shoes and go to Paris. After a little shopping session which I like on my own, I will meet friends to have diner in a nice restaurant with a terrasse of course (maybe at Le Saut du Loup?).”
If you’d like to see more of Fifi and her work, please visit her blog. If you have any questions for her, please ask them below.
Merci beaucoup Fifi for allowing all of us to visit your world today on decor8!
(images: Fifi Mandirac)